Hard Rock International is set to start the construction of its temporary casino in Bristol, Virginia, the gaming giant announced on Thursday. The development of the temporary venue is set to strengthen the company’s presence and commitment to Bristol, marking the brand’s first major milestone in the city.
Construction will begin “soon” at the Women's Belk store in the former Bristol Mall, and the temporary casino is slated to open before the end of quarter two, 2022. "The project will spur economic growth, additional tax revenue and create new jobs for the city and its surrounding areas," added Lucas. "We look forward to welcoming Hard Rock fans in the new year."
"We've introduced the Hard Rock experience to a number of cities this year, and our presence in Bristol, Virginia, is especially rewarding for the brand as the project is our first hotel & casino in the state," said Jon Lucas, Chief Operating Officer of Hard Rock International.
The temporary, full-service casino boasts approximately 30,000 square feet of casino space, featuring approximately 900 gaming slots and 20 tables for a variety of gaming options. The space will include a main casino floor as well as non-smoking and high-limit gaming areas.
The temporary venue will also feature a new restaurant, a grab-and-go food outlet, a sports bar, and an entertainment lounge, along with an adjacent smoking sports lounge. Hard Rock’s temporary casino is set to create 600 new jobs in the area.
The permanent casino, to arrive later in Virginia, will be a 90,000 square feet venue with a $400,000 budget. It is set to create about 2,000 jobs once it is fully operational, plus about 1,500 indirect jobs.
The casino will have a 3,200-seat performance venue, and a 20,000-person capacity outdoor entertainment venue. Once operational, the gaming facility is slated to bring about $21 million in annual tax revenue for Bristol.
Voters approved the Bristol casino project via a local referendum in November 2020. Voters in Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth also approved casino projects in their respective cities. HR Bristol represents the union between HRI and original casino proponents Jim McGlothlin and The United Co., Clyde Stacy and Par Ventures.
“This is a tremendous opportunity, not only for Bristol, but for the other financially distressed localities in Virginia,” City Manager Randy Eads said upon project approval, late last year. “Every locality that had a casino referendum passed it by at least a two-to-one margin. Bristol is now on the cusp of having a unique casino and resort destination here in our own backyard. We’ll be one of 278 locations worldwide for Hard Rock.”